Estimating Heart Rate, Energy Expenditure, and Physical Performance With a Wrist Photoplethysmographic Device During Running

Jakub Parak, Maria Uuskoski, Jan Machek, Ilkka Korhonen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)
    72 Downloads (Pure)


    BACKGROUND: Wearable sensors enable long-term monitoring of health and wellbeing indicators. An objective evaluation of sensors' accuracy is important, especially for their use in health care.

    OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to use a wrist-worn optical heart rate (OHR) device to estimate heart rate (HR), energy expenditure (EE), and maximal oxygen intake capacity (VO2Max) during running and to evaluate the accuracy of the estimated parameters (HR, EE, and VO2Max) against golden reference methods.

    METHODS: A total of 24 healthy volunteers, of whom 11 were female, with a mean age of 36.2 years (SD 8.2 years) participated in a submaximal self-paced outdoor running test and maximal voluntary exercise test in a sports laboratory. OHR was monitored with a PulseOn wrist-worn photoplethysmographic device and the running speed with a phone GPS sensor. A physiological model based on HR, running speed, and personal characteristics (age, gender, weight, and height) was used to estimate EE during the maximal voluntary exercise test and VO2Max during the submaximal outdoor running test. ECG-based HR and respiratory gas analysis based estimates were used as golden references.

    RESULTS: OHR was able to measure HR during running with a 1.9% mean absolute percentage error (MAPE). VO2Max estimated during the submaximal outdoor running test was closely similar to the sports laboratory estimate (MAPE 5.2%). The energy expenditure estimate (n=23) was quite accurate when HR was above the aerobic threshold (MAPE 6.7%), but MAPE increased to 16.5% during a lighter intensity of exercise.

    CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that wrist-worn OHR may accurately estimate HR during running up to maximal HR. When combined with physiological modeling, wrist-worn OHR may be used for an estimation of EE, especially during higher intensity running, and VO2Max, even during submaximal self-paced outdoor recreational running.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere97
    JournalJMIR Mhealth and Uhealth
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 25 Jul 2017
    Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • Journal Article

    Publication forum classification

    • Publication forum level 1


    Dive into the research topics of 'Estimating Heart Rate, Energy Expenditure, and Physical Performance With a Wrist Photoplethysmographic Device During Running'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this